Pictured: Graeme Chaplin (left) with David Penn
Pictured: Graeme Chaplin (left) with David Penn

Coventry & Warwickshire companies show resolve during unprecedented uncertainty

Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire have shown remarkable resilience in the face of unprecedented uncertainty, a key business meeting has heard.

Firms from a range of sectors attended a briefing session with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Graeme Chaplin, the West Midlands agent for the Bank of England.

Graeme meets the Chamber and a selection of members once every six months to gauge how businesses are performing, what issues they may be facing and whether they are investing for the future.

The sentiment from businesses around the table was that some of the uncertainty surrounding leaving the EU was starting to bite but that not all the issues in the economy are Brexit related.

Graeme said that the meeting at Nailcote Hall broadly reflected what he is hearing from companies around the region.

He said: “There is a huge appetite from the Bank of England for this kind of intelligence from businesses in the regions, so events such as this are very important. And you have to say that businesses in this area and around the UK have proved resilient in the face of uncertainty.

“Aside from Brexit, there is a slowing of growth globally, with tensions between China and the US acting as a drag. Both the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have cut rates recently in response.

“The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee didn’t cut rates last week – although rates are still at very low levels as a stimulant to the economy.”

David Penn, the president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and partner at property firm Bromwich Hardy, was among the business people feeding back to the Bank of England.

He said: “It’s vitally important that an institution such as the Bank of England hears how businesses are feeling on the ground and we welcome this audience with Graeme Chaplin.

“The businesses in the room speak under Chatham House rules so they can have an honest and frank conversation, which is exactly as it should be.

“The key take-away for me is that Coventry and Warwickshire is proving to be a robust economy but that we do need an end to the uncertainty and an avoidance of a disorderly Brexit to give companies the confidence to invest and grow for the future.”

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